Letter to My Sister, Erykah Badu
Sister Badu, I’ve been a fan of your music since you have been on the scene since Baduism. You were representing D-Town (Dallas) when no one else dare to and for that I am extremely grateful. I even heard stories about you being a rapper before you were a singer from people who knew you from the North Dallas Area. (Even D.O.C. wouldn’t represent Dallas, but you did!)
I woke up one Monday morning, to read an article in an online paper concerning the video for your song “Window Seat.” I must confess that I had not viewed the video (for reasons I will share later) until after your response to my tweet. I apologize if it seemed as if my tweet purported to be fact and I wanted to make sure that you knew it was my opinion.
Here was my original tweet:
Let’s call it wht its: @fatbellybella stripped 2 sell records & get attention. (sic)its wht its… Have a gd morning ths morning!
You responded with this tweet:
sir, I make ZERO dollars from saling (sic) records you are ill informed and Jesus would not like it one bit .u leading the people wrong
You also tweeted this after I asked for more clarity:
peace I meant you were being quite judgemental w/out a bit of proof nor truth and led the reader to believe u were an authority
After looking at your tweet, I thought about it. By the way, your tweet was hilarious and it made my day. I agree with you that my tweet may have come off as fact. I sincerely apologize if I offended you by not stating that is was my opinion. Although I still stand by the content of what I said, I think I should have made it more clear what I actually thought.
After some thought, I decided to view the video, so that I could see what your work and respond with more insight. I also read the interview that you did on this blog: and found your response to be enlightening. This is my take on the video:
My Observations of Your Video
In the video, I saw your angle about “groupthink” — that people shouldn’t be afraid to do something out of the ordinary. I also saw how you were assassinated, died and were “reborn” a new person. It reminded me of another person that happened to: Jesus Christ.
The JFK angle was an interesting touch. You shot the video on the “grassy knoll” outside the library. In the beginning of the video, you jumped out of a 60’s style white town car, sort of like the one JFK was riding in when he was assassinated.
There were multiple messages including death and rebirth, being an individual, and the bondage of groupthink. It was just like you said there were multiple messages and people could have taken a lot out of the video. Even the filming of the video of itself was new and cutting edge. The video was different from a lot of videos made today.
The Goodness of Art
Sister, I believe that all art is created by God and through Jesus Christ. Gen 1:1, John 1:2. And when God created Art he created it good. Gen. 1:31, John 1:1. Good art is beautiful and reminds us of the beauty of God.
When Satan came in the garden he corrupted what God had created, by tempting man to sin, which Adam gave into. Genesis 3. The very creation that God had beautifully declared to be good was marred and disfigured by sin. Marriage was distorted. Relationships were distorted. Music was distorted. Art was distorted. Because of Man’s sinful nature and the influence of Satan, art created pure and for his glory has been defiled.
“Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.” – Tim Keller
How does this relate to art? When art or anything else becomes the place by which we build our life and gives us meaning, it becomes a God thing. It takes us farther than we ever really wanted to go and it morphs from a good thing to something that we worship — a God thing, as Marc Driscoll would say.
I believe that your video had many messages that were good and thought–provoking, but I think it crossed the line from a good thing to a God thing, when the body that God gave you to glorify him was used to glorify Art. Sister, you are a beautiful soul, but your body was meant for the view and enjoyment of your husband. Part of the reason why I was so reluctant to watch it was because I didn’t want to look at what did not belong to me. God loves the fact that two married lovers can enjoy each other’s body. So your body wasn’t wrong, it’s just the purpose you used it for was wrong. The ironic thing is that the potentially good messages that were portrayed in your video were devalued and even demonized by a good number of males, because they were staring at your buttocks.
If I had to shorten my statement, for some people the video became pornography. For proof, look at some of the YouTube message boards. They were filled with men lusting after you and fulfilling their selfish desires with your body. They missed the message and you became the object of their affection and worship. As one who has struggled with porn, I know. Porn has destroyed many of my relationships, and it helped me to view women as objects of art to be worshipped, rather than a human being created in the image of God.
Does that mean art is bad thing?
No, art can be redeemed. It is why Jesus Christ left heaven and came to earth. More than assassinated, he was appointed by God the Father to die. It was Jesus Christ destiny to die at the hands of his Father. The bible declares that it pleased God the Father to crush his own son? Isaiah 53:11. Why? God must punish sin, and instead of taking his wrath and vengeance out on us, who have no righteousness, he took it out on his own son. Romans 3:10 What happened to Jesus was more than assassination— it was atonement. He died for us ungodly human beings. Romans 5:8. Jesus then rises again in three days in a new, glorified body, never to die again. John 21. In fact, He is now in heaven as the Man. Acts 1:8,9 His resurrection is the beginning of a New World Order full of love and peace that will see its fulfillment when he comes back again. This old world is quickly dying.
How does this relate to art?
Well Jesus isn’t only going to redeem people, but he is going to redeem his creation and that includes art. Romans 8:21‑39. Jesus will rule with his redeemed people on this redeemed earth. People will be changed by the glory of their Savior. 2 Cor. 4:4‑6. Some of these changed people will then begin to take back and transform that which the devil has corrupted — like art.
In various art forms and genres, God is precisely taking those art forms and reconciling them back to Him for his glory! For instance check out Sho Baraka and his video, “We Can Be More.”
When Christ-followers view or listen to anything artistic, they should ask the question: does this work of art bring fame (glory) to the name of God and to his Son Jesus Christ? I Cor. 10:11. No, everything that gives God glory doesn’t have to say his name. A beautiful sunrise declares his glory. I also believed that some of your songs do that as well.
Sister Badu, am I asking you to change what you do? Actually no, I’m not. I’m a Christian preacher and I have learned that telling people to stop sinning that may not be Christian is pointless. No sister, I’m looking deeper.
In your video, you died and were reborn a queen. There was a part of you that you felt died while shooting this video. I think this is similar to what God is calling us to do. He is calling us to die to ourselves and our desire to run our life, and follow Christ. That’s death to idolatry, to sin, and ultimately to our selves and our right to exist outside of the plan of God. On the flip side, God raises us up in new life with Christ so that now we have freedom. We are now a kingdom of priests – a royal priesthood.
I don’t know if you believe that Jesus Christ is your Master and Savior, but God leaves you with a decision to make. It will be the biggest decision of your life. If you repent from your sins and trust that the Lord Jesus rose again from the dead you shall be saved. Romans 10:9. The result of you making that decision will be new life with Christ Jesus forever. If you say no to Jesus, you are essentially saying to God, “I’m fine, I will bear your wrath, myself.” Embrace the Love of your life. I John 4:10. Sister Erykah, I desperately want to see you in the “Next Lifetime.”
With much Love and Affection from your brother in this life and, God-willing, the next,